I gave the Windows 8 beta a pretty thorough try but I did not find myself a big fan of the changes to the desktop experience. One of the problems was that the Metro style Start Menu was horizontally oriented. If I were on a tablet or touch screen, I could grab the screen anywhere and slide it around. On a standard keyboard and mouse, you have to aim for a small scroll bar at the bottom and drag it over. People don’t like having to do that, hence why scroll wheels on mice became so popular. Today, Microsoft Hardware showed some new Windows 8-ready mice and keyboards that brings some touch capability to the desktop and other devices.
The Wedge Touch Mouse is small and compact. It could make for the perfect partner to your mobile device and it allows four-way touch scrolling on its surface.
The Sculpt Touch Mouse is a little bit beefier and features a touch scroll strip in place of your scroll wheel. The strip allows four-way touch scroll up, down, left, and right.
Microsoft Touch Mouse will be getting a software update so it can take advantage of Windows 8 functionality. The following guide gives an idea of what you’ll be able to do all while your hand is on the mouse.
The other aspect of Windows 8 that has me watching cautiously seems to be a heavy reliance on keyboard shortcuts to make navigation sane and save a number of clicks. Microsoft’s Wedge Mobile Keyboard takes care of that by including some Windows 8 icons on the function keys to indicate a keyboard shortcut for some of the Windows 8 charms. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard includes a rubber cover to keep it protected and keep it from scratching the tablets it might be riding along with.
Also announced today is the Sculpt Mobile Keyboard. It is also updated to Windows 8 and has a more ergonomic curve to it.
All of these devices utilize Bluetooth for wireless connectivity. They are slated to be available soon with prices between $49.95 and $79.95. For more details, see the full press release. Images courtesy of the Windows Team Blog.